Five years ago, Melissa Smith decided that she wanted to become a mother.
The now 40-year-old, who is based in Sydney, was single – but she knew she was ready.
“When I was getting around the 35 mark, I started to feel like I was just on this hamster wheel of life and going out on weekends and getting drunk and trying to online date and I was just going around in circles,” she told Mamamia.
“I was watching all of my friends start to meet serious partners, get engaged and have babies and I felt like I was still doing the same thing.”
After realising just how much she wanted a baby of her own, Melissa made a decision – she was going to embark on motherhood alone.
Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, investigates sperm donation in Australia. Post continues after podcast.
“I just sort of thought: ‘Why not? What’s holding me back? I’m a strong woman and I’ve achieved a lot in my life. I can do it,'” she said.
Although the now 40-year-old briefly considered adoption, she ultimately choose to have a baby with the help of a sperm donor.
“A part of me really wanted to have a piece of me out there with all of my characteristics,” she said.
“[Using a sperm donor] definitely appealed more to me in my situation.”
After going for an initial consultation at an IVF clinic, Melissa’s journey to motherhood began.
Following a series of tests and counselling sessions, the Sydney woman began the process to chose a sperm donor.
In her case, the IVF clinic that she used offered access to Australian donors who had donated directly to the clinic as well as donors from a US sperm bank.
“I opted to go through the US sperm bank instead of the Australian donors because there was more variety and there was a lot more information available of the donors,” Melissa said.
“Through the US sperm bank that I went through, I was able to look through photos from when the donor was a baby right up until adulthood, they had written a letter to the child, there was every kind of medical test that you could imagine, they had done some counselling,” she explained.
“I also could have downloaded a recording of the donor’s voice – but I just chose not to because I didn’t want that to impact on my decision.”
WATCH: Angela Bishop never thought that she would be a single mum. Post continues below.